Employees' Mental Health Has a Big Impact on the Workplace

One in five adults in the U.S. will experience a mental illness this year. That’s more than 43 million individuals suffering from a disorder that disrupts their personal life, impacts relationships and affects productivity at work[i].

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 The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines mental illness as “a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood.” These can include, but are not limited to, mood and anxiety disorders, depression, eating and obsessive-compulsive disorders, post traumatic stress and schizophrenia. All of these can have serious consequences with potentially harmful effects to those with the mental disorder, who often suffer silently due to:

  • Reluctance to seek help or treatment
  • Lack of understanding from family, friends and co-workers
  • Potential physical and emotional harassment by others
  • Belief that success or improvement won’t be achieved

Addressing mental disorders in the workplace is critical for employers and their staff. A staggering 9.8 million adults will experience a serious mental illness in a given year that interferes or limits one or more major life activities[ii]…which can affect their career. And according to research, serious mental illnesses cost American workers more than $193 billion in lost wages each year[iii]. On the employer side of the equation, mental health disorders are estimated to cause 200 million lost work days each year which cost organizations up to $44 billion annually[iv].

Mental health should be considered equally as important as physical health when it comes to employee benefits. Providing intervention and early treatment for mental health disorders can help prevent future serious and more costly conditions for employees. Offering a comprehensive employee assistance program (EAP), such as Ulliance’s Life Advisor EAP, gives employees the opportunity to meet and talk with a counselor, identify approaches and solutions, as well as provide resources for additional help.

In addition to offering benefits to employees, organizations should work to remove the stigma and educate staff about mental illness. During the month of May, which is designated as Mental Health Month, Ulliance encourages organizations to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace by sharing information, resources and support for mental health conditions. Does your organization offer an EAP? If not, please call 866-648-8326 for more information about Ulliance’s Life Advisor EAP.


[i] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-us-adults.shtml

[ii] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/serious-mental-illness-smi-among-us-adults.shtml

[iii] https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers

[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/health-strategies/depression/evaluation-measures/index.html